There’s little doubt that Americans are obsessed with restaurants. More than 195 million US consumers visited a sit-down restaurant during spring of 2016. One recent survey even found that 54 percent of millennials eat out at least three times per week.
But, of course, the success of a given restaurant isn’t guaranteed. There’s a lot that goes into creating a phenomenal dining experience, particularly as consumer preferences evolve. Today’s restaurant needs to serve delectable food, to be sure, but there are other factors that keep diners coming back for more.
Although your mind might be on your menu development or on the logistics of constructing working kitchen, you also need to choose the right kind of ambiance for your eatery. Your tables, chairs, and other furniture can play an essential role in setting the scene for the diner experience. To that end, here are three tips you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing restaurant furniture.
Opt for durable and comfortable
Zagat’s recent dining trends survey found that 75 percent of respondents who browse food photos have chosen their next place to eat based on social media. In other words, the visual appeal of your restaurant — both in terms of the dishes you serve and the atmosphere you create — can make or break your business in the digital age.
But don’t be so focused on the look of your chairs or booths that you forget about the function they need to serve. Your chairs have to be comfortable enough that your patrons will want to come back again and again, while your tables need to be the proper height and length so customers can easily eat their meals.
Your furniture should also be able to withstand professional use. Some tables and chairs are simply not designed to provide the durability restaurants need. Whether your patrons are encouraged to luxuriate in their meals or you’re focused on table turnover on busy evenings, the furniture you choose should provide the superior quality necessary to accommodate everyone.
Often, this comes down to purchasing items from restaurant supply companies, as these commercial-grade products are intended to stand the test of time. No guest will react kindly to broken chairs or wobbly tables, so you don’t want to take that risk.
Don’t choose based on price alone
It’s understandable that you’d want to keep costs down when furnishing your restaurant. But don’t be too stingy with your budget. If you’re overly strict with how much you spend, you may end up buying poor-quality pieces that have to be replaced far too early. Since cheaper chairs and tables may require more maintenance, you might end up spending just as much on repairs and replacements as you would on higher-end options.
When choosing furniture for your restaurant, you’ll need to prioritize quality over quantity. Just because you’ll be able to afford 12 more chairs if you go with a less expensive option doesn’t mean that’s the best way to go. If those chairs have poor reviews or aren’t intended for commercial operations, they’ll represent a waste of money in the end.
There are budget-friendly options for restaurants, but you may have to devote a bit more time to finding them. What’s more, you shouldn’t merely settle for the cheapest alternative; it’s often wiser to invest a bit more up front to avoid problems later on.
Tell your unique story
Your choice in furniture should also support the story you’re trying to tell with your eatery. Your concept should be reflected in all of your decor choices. Without this through-line, the interior of your eatery will feel confusing and overwhelming to your guests.
In many ways, your tables and chairs provide so much more than just a place to sit and eat. You can use furniture to help translate your special point of view and evoke emotions in your patrons. The style of furniture you include should make sense with the world you’ve created, working together with the menu and your mission to invite diners in.
Whatever the theme of your restaurant is and the customer you’re trying to attract, be sure to select furniture that reflects those factors.